(James McBryde, original illustration for "'Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad,'" in Ghost Stories of an Antiquary , by M. R. James)
During the spring of 2007, students in Rhetoric 102-17 have been reading and writing about ghosts and ghost stories. We have read a sampling of British and American ghost stories from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present, including work by such masters of supernatural fiction as Algernon Blackwood, Elizabeth Bowen, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, A. S. Byatt, F. Marion Crawford, Amelia Edwards, Joseph Sheridan LeFanu, Edith Nesbit, and Bram Stoker. We have in addition read one brief collection of ghost stories by Englishman Montague Rhodes James and a novel by Australian writer John Harwood. Course reading also included excerpts of commentaries on the nature and appeal of ghost stories by Julia Briggs, Christopher Clausen, Michael Cox, Lowell Frye, R. A. Gilbert, H. G. Lovecraft, and Jack Sullivan.
The emphasis in my section of Rhetoric 102, as in all sections, is on persuasion, style, and research. The ghost stories have provided us with a subject on which to engage our rhetorical skills. For the final project of the semester, students have read a selection of ghost stories by one author and conducted research into the life and writings of that author. Armed with ideas and information, the students have designed, written, and published a web essay that displays the fruits of their research and writing in several web pages. In addition, each student has posted at least two essays written earlier in the semester, one exploring the nature and appeal of ghost stories, and one devoted to some aspect of the stories of late Victorian and early twentieth-century master M. R. James.
Below is a list of students, as well as the particular author each one has studied for this final project; each name is a link to that student's website. In addition, I have provided links to two additional pages, one that lists all the essays about the nature and appeal of ghost stories, and one that lists all the essays about M. R. James.
Acknowledgments: Neither I nor my students would have been able to construct our websites without the expertise and patience of Chandra Gigliotti-Guridi, Instructional Technologist & Assistant Director of the Library; Cheryle Dixon, College Webmaster; and Mike Timma, Library Associate in Instructional Technology and Media. We are also grateful to Todd Pugh for his skill in computer troubleshooting. Thanks to all of you for your help.
Lowell T. Frye
May 2, 2007
Essay # 3: The Nature and Appeal of Ghost Stories
Essay # 4: The Ghost Stories of M. R. James
Link to Work on Ghost Stories Produced by Students in Rhetoric 102-3 & 102-6, Fall 2005